China zombie virus: How it could become reality

Rumours of a zombie virus in China have persistently been peddled by users on TikTok, YouTube and other social media websites in recent months.

Is there any truth to the claims and should the world be concerned about a zombie-like virus?

Origins of the China zombie virus narrative

World War Z, a best-selling book published in 2006, appears to be the first piece of literature to mention a China zombie virus.

This is a line from the book.

“By refusing to admit the truth of the zombie outbreak to the world, the Communist Chinese government aided its spread due to misinformation about what was actually happening.”

The Chinese Communist Party was so incensed by the book’s story-line about a China zombie virus spreading across the world, it banned the novel from being sold in China.

Since then, the fictitious novel by Max Brooks has been the source of inspiration for many conspiracy theories and doomsayers.

More recently, viral social media videos purporting to show zombies in China, have been confirmed by experts as fakes.

But it hasn’t stopped people questioning the possibility of zombie virus outbreak in China.

China zombie virus
Alarmist and fake videos in China purporting to show a Zombie virus in China.

While zombies are common in popular culture movies and books, it’s important to remember Zombies themselves don’t exist.

But the question is, could a virus form that causes symptoms that are zombie-like?

A Chinese “zombie fungus” does exist

In an eerie parallel to the popular TV series, The Last of Us, where a zombie fungus destroys the world, experts at Chinese herbal medical company, The Eastern Philosophy, have pointed out the existence of a common fungus, which is referred to in traditional Chinese medicine as the “zombie fungus”.

The Fungi’s scientific name is phiocordyceps sinensis. It is used to make human’s stronger and improve immunity. In fact, the Fungus was attributed to the unexpected success of the Chinese team at the 1996 Olympics.

While it has been used organically for decades, many now fear a fungal mutation. That’s because in China’s Hubei province, the Fungi is now being farmed on an industrial scale.

The potential for mutant fungi was highlighted in a recent Oregon State University study.

“Prior to this we’ve believed that fungi were generally confined to vertical gene transfer or conventional inheritance, a slower type of genetic change based on the interplay of DNA mutation, recombination and the effects of selection,” Michael Freitag, an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University told Science Daily.

“But in this study we found fungi able to transfer an infectious capability to a different strain in a single generation. We’ve probably underestimated this phenomenon, and it indicates that fungal strains may become pathogenic faster than we used to think possible.”

But for now, you can rest easy because the China zombie virus story is just the latest in a long line of fake news stories and fake viral videos targeting China.